A few weeks ago, my friend Dani posted a couple of Mika's videos on Facebook. I had heard of him, but I didn't know a lot, so I clicked on the links out of curiosity and found some really fun music by a kid with a terrific voice. I checked him out on YouTube, then ran to iTunes and bought a few songs.
I quickly became addicted to Happy Ending. In my searches to find out more about Mika, I found that he would be in Oakland soon--just one week after I was to drive out there to see Snow Patrol.
I looked at my calendar and realized that this would be a pretty crazy weekend. I had a Chorale concert on Friday night, and there is another one this afternoon. But I figured I could recover from a late, late Saturday night in Oakland with Mika, so I bought my ticket and prepared to go.
Turns out, there is no way I could have possibly been prepared for the awesomeness that is Mika live.
Before the show, I walked over to a pizza place for an enormous piece of greasy, wonderful cheese pizza. On the way back, I got some pretty pictures.
The opening act was Gary Go. I had never heard of him, so I did some Googling and YouTubing, and found that he looked quite promising--British, talented, some good tunes (like Wonderful and an AWESOME and funny cover of Lady Gaga's Just Dance).
He didn't have full use of the stage because Mika's set-up is crazy--the curtain was closed, and Gary and his guitarist/right hand man just used the very front of the stage, in front of the proscenium.
He was okay live--a little bit mumbly and hard to understand (didn't help that quite a few of the diehard Mika fans gave him little attention and just stood around chatting through his set) and a little bit shouty live. Aside from the two songs I mentioned above, I didn't hear anything that makes me want to rush over to iTunes and buy more.
When he was done, the crowd started getting a little more restless. People were crowding onto the floor. I was on the first tier, about a foot above the main floor part, right at the railing where I had an excellent view of the stage, and protection from the masses that were trying to get closer to the stage. The venue was packed.
The curtains remained closed, and I was texting Dani when suddenly, two stagehands brought out a sofa.
Then a lamp.
I was intrigued. Finally, a large-screen TV came out.
The crowd was getting huge, and a tall guy positioned himself right in front of me. He was very tall--because I was standing at least a foot higher than he was, making me about 6'2" to where he was standing. And his big ole head still blocked my view.
Finally, the lights dimmed, everyone screamed, and people started coming out on the stage and sitting on the couch. The TV came on and we watched old news footage of a NASA take-off. The people on stage were Mika's band. The curtain came up, they took their places, and out came a dude in a space suit and helmet--the man himself. He took off the helmet, revealing his curly hair. Girls squealed. The (many) gay men in attendence squealed. I giggled. Then he ripped off the space suit (conveniently, it was Velcro), revealing white pants and no shirt.
The crowd went BANANAS.
My crappy camera didn't get a decent shot of shirtless Mika. Sorry, Dani.
Mika proceeded to launch into a high-energy show. The crowd was having a blast. He was hyperactive, energetic, and having a blast up on stage.
Then he said, "Tonight's show is brought to you by good old fashioned American prescription painkillers." That's when I noticed he was limping, and had a boot on his left foot. Turns out he tore a couple of tendons on Friday, doing a show. He didn't let it slow him down. This kid has got to be hurting, but he didn't let down his audience.
His band had the same energy. His backup singer was jumping and running all over the place--in HEELS! I could never do all that in heels. I'd be asking for my workout shoes.
The show was loud, colorful, comical, cartoonish, and very well-done. It was a blast. The crowd was on fire all evening, singing along, cheering, stomping, jumping, dancing. Mika was all smiles and high-energy. He would hop around on his right foot to give the injured left foot a break. His band (with a lady drummer--AWESOME!) was the same. There was a real sense of love up on that stage--I got the feeling that they love backing him, and that he must be a ton of fun to perform with.
When he finished his set, the crowd started stomping and chanting his name for an encore. He didn't let us down, coming back out and doing four more songs. They must have been exhausted, but the band gave us more incredible energy. That is what we paid for!
After the show, I managed to get to the ladies before the crowds (no line!), and then to the merchandise table. My luck ran out when it came to meeting Mika, however. I played fangirl for about 45 minutes, standing outside the back gate with a bunch of teenaged girls and their doting mothers, chatting with the guy guarding the gate and hoping I could get an autograph for Dani. Sorry, girl, he didn't come out to sign. Some diehards stayed on, but it was 11:45 and I had an hour-long drive back to Stockton.
I got home around 1:00. Needless to say, I'm tired this morning, but it was so worth it. What a fun show!